Vanessa Bryant, widow of Kobe Bryant, announced yesterday that the Mamba Sports Foundation is now the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, in honor of the NBA legend and their 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
Bryant posted the change on her Instagram page.
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Because there is no #24 without #2, we have updated the Mamba Sports Foundation to now be called the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation. Our mission remains the same – and stronger than ever – to provide opportunities to young people through sports. Thank you all for the outpouring of support and your kind donations to date as we carry forth Kobe and Gigi’s legacy.. We hope to empower young athletes in a world they left us all to help shape. #Mamba #Mambacita #wings @mambamambacitasports
“Because there is no #24 without #2, we have updated the Mamba Sports Foundation to now be called the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation.” a shout out to Kobe and Gianna’s basketball jersey numbers, both of which have been retired,” Bryant wrote.
The change accompanied an updated logo. “Our mission remains the same – and stronger than ever – to provide opportunities to young people through sports,” Bryant wrote.
Kobe and Gigi were killed on January 26 after the helicopter they were riding in tragically crashed in Calabasas, California. Seven other people, including a few of Gianna’s teammates and their parents, were also killed. The passengers were headed to a tournament at the Thousand Oaks sports academy when their helicopter went down. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
Kobe Bryant created the foundation to offer underserved communities sports programs that helped kids with “socio-emotional and physical development,” according to its website. The foundation also offers funding for ballers to play in school or league teams and to help fund sports programs providing equal opportunities for girls.
In her Instagram note, Vanessa also thanked people for sending in donations. “Thank you all for the outpouring of support and your kind donations to date as we carry forth Kobe and Gigi’s legacy. We hope to empower young athletes in a world they left us all to help shape.”
The Instagram page for the foundation also announced the name change. “In commemoration of Gianna ‘Gigi’ Bryant, Mamba Sports Foundation will now be known as the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation. The Foundation exists to further Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s legacy in youth sports and beyond.”
A public memorial service for Kobe and Gianna will be held at 10 a.m. on February 24 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where the athlete played with the Lakers for his entire 20-year career. The 2-24 date was chosen because “24” is the jersey number Kobe wore and “2” was Gigi’s jersey number.
The memorial will be broadcast on TV.